tagRomanceOverlooked Bride Ch. 02

Overlooked Bride Ch. 02

byEgmont Grigor©

SO FAR: Bianca White is jilted by her fiancée in Melbourne just days from the altar. The advertising wiz returns to her New Zealand homeland in despair and starts up a consulting business to sort out problems for people. Her first client Marty Young seeks a potential wife with business experience.

*

Bianca White had arrived back in New Zealand revitalized, ready to start a new round in her life and had the assistance of a bagful of money.

It had taken the university arts and advertising graduate two years to establish in Melbourne. After a year the ad agency gave Bianca her creative freedom. Before long discerning clients began insisting she work on their accounts and that pushed up her salary. The monthly publication 'Ad Showcase' did a three page spread on Bianca with two clients acclaiming her as being a rising star.

During this euphoria, Stan Melrose of Melrose PR and Advertising arrived, headhunting. He lured Bianca into a bar where she was asked to name her price, got it and went on to earn it. For three years Stan was deliriously happy with Bianca until that fateful morning after she had been jilted and she drunkenly bowled Stan with a haymaker in front of horrified staff, flattening his ego as well as his skinny body. Goodbye Bianca.

The smiling eggshell blue-eyed blonde with a gym toughened body jogged up the steps and into the foyer of Glasgow Apartments on the site of Auckland's old Glasgow Shipping Agency and bounced up to a front unit on the third level, which was just high enough for her to have a something really splendid to catch her eye. She looked beyond the wharf sheds to Devonport and North Head and shiting to the right out to the fabulous island-studded Hauraki Gulf – a view to die for although Bianca was nothing think about doing that.

If they built multi-storey apartments on the wharves she'd sell out of Glasgow, take the loss; and chase after a wharf apartment in one of the new developments.

After showering then taking a sip of white wine she'd left standing on the wash basin, Bianca stepped back to dry herself while looking critically in the mirror. The blonde hair – yucky blonde she reminded herself – was overdue for attention at the hairdressers. She scowled, as always, at the boob that irresponsibly hung a little lower that its mate. Once again ruled out getting a chain to hang from her naval, agreed the tuff should stay as a memorial to the thicket long gone and finally worried about the thighs – were they expanding? God, if they did fatten she'd wear trousers for the rest of her life.

Pulling on panties, Bianca transferred her white wine to the kitchen and slipped Nora Jones into the CD. She tossed three small frozen fish slices into a heated pan with a little butter and olive oil, pulled two thigh-fattening hash browns from a packet in the freezer, halved two tomatoes ready to dunk to sear at the last moment and shoved half a cup of frozen peas with a knob of thigh-fattening butter in the glass bowl into the microwave.

"Oh Norah Jones, I don't want a man just for sex; I want a hungry man drinking beer and watching my ass move around the kitchen preparing us real cuisine. Cooking for one is about as hopeless as sex is for one; why does life have to be so unfair, Norah?"

Off went Norah, on went TV to screen the video recording of the pre-lunchtime Soap. Bianca ate slowly, ready to cry at the first sign of any emotionally brutalized women's eyes on-screen beginning to dilate.

"Yum – this meal is great. Did I have it last night and the night before? Does it matter? Think of the women on this Soap who can't remember the last time when they didn't have sex. Don't some people live in different worlds?

During an ad break Bianca decided that if she didn't land a man soon she'd probably buy a cat.

On the exercise bicycle at 7:00 that evening, perspiration glistening on her exposed back and sweat showing immediately below her breasts, Bianca thought about her wedding.

They were lovely thoughts until the matter of actually having someone standing alongside her at the altar dulled the romance. She really had to work quickly to build up her business and then spend some time corning a Mr Right – that Right without the 'W' in front.

She mused she wouldn't find him at hosted Tennis Tournaments or after summer at Friday Night Football because she didn't enjoy having masses of under-washed humanity PLUS screeching noise. She visualized herself seated in arm chair luxury in a box high about the mass, doing the Cleopatra thing holding a glass of champagne and a turkey drum stick while doing little 'Ooohs' of approval as someone down there in the team favored by the host committed mayhem on the football field was a lovely thought. But the hosts tended to be awful used vehicle dealers or high-powered business leaders looking to copulate as soon as his or her spouse was taken home by a frisky looking young minion.

The end of week bash at the bar on Friday nights was always a sure thing to end up with a very keen male – too keenly hair-triggered all too often – but inevitably they were already married; they usually confessed with a yawn after – what was the phrase – oh yes, 'readjusting their attire'.

While that might sound somewhat cynical of men, Bianca was aware that learning the lesson about being a primary single-purpose target for sexually-driven males with only just sufficient post-sex skill to be able to enquire whether there would be a next time, had generated a whiplash effect influencing her print and TV ads; she created women with an air of innocence and intelligent paired with one sometimes two men with smoldering sensuality and always they had pointy ears and incisors that were exaggeratedly drawn or digitally altered to appear almost fang-like.

Women viewers responded to those ads positively knowing they were created by an unknown but sensitive woman signally subliminally that it was okay to buy this product or service when associating with males with demonic ears and teeth interested in only one thing – and that wasn't shopping. Bianca kept winning awards for her ads – male judges simply announced 'Bianca' injects this intrinsic quality we're unable to quite identify such is its mystic', while female judges just smiled and kept their mouth shut, unwilling to give away Bianca's subliminal secret, justifying their decision with cover-up wording such a 'enhanced creativity that captures the mind of world-hardened women who find sanctuary when shopping'.

It would be unfair, as Bianca knew, to suggest all men interested in only one thing were abominable because at times she found herself in tune with them needing them. She inevitably would ask "Are you married?" and inevitably some would tell the truth when, if desire was pumping, she wished they had lied.

The frustrations and complications led Bianca to decide that marriage led to the apparent solution when incorporating the R.O.E formula – regular, often and exclusively. Unfortunately her quests for marriage had all failed although the latest attempt came within eight days of the finishing post. Whether the subsequent marriage would have lasted even eight days was debatable.

Perhaps tomorrow evening she might spot Mr Right at the display of etchings. Etchings of animals – "Oh, I don't think so," she sighed, clearing away the remains of dinner. A couple of good cries during the Soap had left her feeling almost rejuvenated. She went to the computer.

Bianca checked her holdings in stock on her broker's website and then switched to a dating site with the intention of looking for Mr Right. Initially these sites had been used by male and female prostitutes to drum up business but now every Tom, Dick and Ellen was riding the wave.

She chose New Listings and the first image of a short guy with practically no neck and a bushy moustache described himself as a meat worker which disgusted her until she read on and found he was an owner driver who delivered chilled meat to suburban butcher's shops. He was seeking: A 'blonde, can be dyed, no taller than 5ft 5in, who enjoys fishing and skinny dipping at the beach. Being able to handle my GST returns and other business documentation would be to any girl's advantage'.

Doing all the work is an advantage? I don't think so, Mr Meat Worker, Bianca scoffed. Another entry then jumped at her – a woman: not for her, for Marty.

'I seek a successful man who can offer me a challenging life. I am lively, intelligent, would be fun to live with, have few bad habits and my parents say I'm loyal, honest, beautiful and would make someone a lovely wife. Even if that's only half true it would still make me a great catch. I'm working as office administrator for three plumbers and I hold a teaching diploma and taught in primary schools for five years. I'm 25 and like doing things a guy likes doing and I love cooking. If you're only interested in a one-night stand don't bother responding. Gloria.'

There was no photo. Bianca responded, saying she was a professional female business consultant who had a client who had commissioned her to locate a prospective wife for him. He was seeking quote – 'an attractive woman with business experience who could related to adult students in a learning environment' – end quote. She told Gloria if she were interested to call to arrange a time for a preliminary interview.

Gloria called within the hour. Her voice sounded warm and educated and they arranged to meet in Bianca's office at 12:15 the next day. Gloria had an hour's lunch break and only had to come across the Harbor Bridge from Northcote. She accepted Bianca's offer to join her for chicken sandwiches and coffee at the office.

Amy MacLeod dropped in just after Bianca arrived at 9:00 to hand across her employment file. She expressed delight at the work station that had been installed overnight. They greeted very warmly and Amy said, "Mr Smith asked me to invite you to my farewell on Friday at 4:00. It will only be him and me and a few regular clients. He says you appear to be a very bright woman and he wants to – and this is what he said – T'ake a good decko at you to confirm you're as good as you sound'. I think he's under the impression you are elderly and probably like, er, I have to say this, like women who work just to remain close to men to remember how it was."

"Oh I do, but not in the manner he seems to think."

They laughed and Amy said she had to hurry back to prepare orders for mailing.

"Do you use a franking machine or damaged stamps from stock?"

Amy opened her mouth to reply, caught the expression and said Mr Smith would find out about the waspish humor on Friday.

"Waspish humor? I must add that to my CV to send to prospective clients."

Member of Parliament Fitzroy Herbert called and began in a most unpromising way: "Just called to ensure you survived the night without me at your side."

"Fitzroy, I really don't..."

"Oh Christ, another woman without humor. I apologize for my crass ignorance and ungentlemanly behavior."

"Accepted, but before speaking to women throw a bucket of ice water over yourself Fitzroy."

"Huh."

"It's even more off-putting for a female to be talking to a man who thinks in a devious manner and openly acts predatorily. You'll be lucky if you last your three-year first term in Parliament at this rate."

"I need help, don't I? I view it as being playful but obviously others don't share my view."

"Yes you do need help. Consult a psychologist."

"I'd rather you try."

"But I'm not qualified in that..."

But Fitzroy interjected to insisted she take him on, saying he was already responding well to Bianca.

"When men become too uncouth or physically troublesome for me, I whack them."

"Perhaps that's what I need?"

Bianca said she would talk with him for an hour, but it had to hurt him – the fee would be $500 cash.

"Cash?"

"Yes, it's an excessive charge and I don't want you attempting to wriggle out of it; remember you are a politician."

"Wow, that's pretty sharp, Bianca. Good one."

The appointment was set for 10:00 on Friday. Fitzroy then remembered the reason why he'd called – Kit was pleased to hear Bianca was back in town and surprised Fitzroy had engaged her as a consultant but yes, she'd agree to lunch Saturday. Getting plastered over lunch was a lovely way to kill a Saturday afternoon.

During the morning Marty called to invite Bianca to drink after the gallery viewing. She hesitated so he said business drink; she accepted and heard his voice lift thinking that was for her but he said – quite unnecessarily he thought – "We've just recruited a new tutor with great teaching endorsements with a bonus of really great legs."

Oh thought Bianca, I must change that internet lisying where I mentioned boobs.

"Two external parts of a women's body catch my mind," he added.

Oh, what a sweet way of expressing it instead of lewdly as most men would.

"Well, I must be off and introduce Mrs Longfellow to her students; this is her first day. Bye."

"Bye," she replied, experiencing a lift in spirit. But why – it didn't matter whether the new tutor was Miss or Mrs, did it? It puzzled Bianca why she avoided answering that question.

Physically, Gloria Schmidt was admirably suited for Marty – almost at his height with aggressively uplifted and well defined breasts and the legs encased in lightly patterned panty-hose or stockings appeared beautifully shaped.

"If you don't mind me saying so, you work among plumbers and their kind looking this good?"

"It's the reason why I want out; the jokes are always blonde jokes or jokes about breasts and I receive more requests for dates that most other office workers experience in being asked to pass the stapler."

"Then, let's see how promising my client looks to you."

Bianca passed across the photograph printed off the imaged Marty had emailed, saying his name was Marty Young who was thirty-three, never married and appeared to be an eligible bachelor but Gloria would have to assess that herself. She poured the coffee and opened the sandwich box while Gloria looked at the photo transfixed.

Gloria was eyeing a strong-jawed, wide-faced man with green eyes and curly multi-brown hair, and lots of it, cascading over the collar of his polo-shirt that failed to hide the outline of nipples on a wide chest and that fell away to a flat stomach.

"Oh Jesus," Gloria sighed. "How is it he's managed to escape this long?"

"I asked him many personal questions, but not that one," Bianca smiled, lifting out the six sandwich halves on the serviette and lowering the whole package on to a serving plate.

They ate in silence as Gloria read the résumé Bianca had constructed from the answers and elaborations she'd elicited from the prospective bridegroom.

Sipping coffee Gloria, eyes bright, said Marty's business appeared fascinating. The whole package appealed to her.

Bianca reiterated her position. "I'm engaged only as a finder and to conduct initial appraisal. Tell me more about yourself and your aspirations, Gloria."

Twenty minutes later they were done. Gloria was given the choice of Bianca arranging a meeting or approaching Marty herself.

"I'll make my own appointment, thank you – he ought to be pleased I'm that confident."

"He will be interviewing other prospects."

"Of course, but he'll choose me, I know he will."

Bianca hoped he wouldn't; there was something not quite right about Gloria but what she didn't know. Scanning the print-out of a email she'd sent to Marty with the suggestion of an over-night try-out, Bianca noticed with dismay the wording [Joke!] was missing. She knew she couldn't allow her professional reputation to be compromised. She would have to admit her stupidity over that suggestion.

"Er, Gloria. When I was setting up this project for Mr Young I flippantly remarked he might wish to arrange a one-night try-out..."

"Oh, no problem, Bianca. A night or even a week would be fine; he's entitled to make a full assessment before making his choice."

"I really must point out it was a flippant remark."

"Well, for what it's worth Bianca, I think it should be a mandatory requirement for any candidate wishing to proceed her application to a higher level of assessment. I rather welcome the opportunity of trying to improve my chances by being the best performer in bed."

Bianca arrived for her meeting with the deputy-Mayor ten minutes early and ten minutes after the appointed time said sweetly to the receptionist, "I'm afraid I don't like being kept for appointments. Please tell Mrs Coddingham and Mrs Bloom I waited patiently but have now left."

"But ten minutes isn't long to wait for a busy city senior official."

"It is when you're a busy consultant. If they still wish to consult with me, please ask them to make an appointment to see me. Good day."

At 4:15 the two women were in Bianca's office – Sara was apologetic and Brenda Coddingham was livid, saying, "Really, I think your impatience outside my office was quite unacceptable, giving no credit to the fact that I have a city to run."

"You have a job and so do I, Mrs Coddingham. I work efficiently by working efficiently which includes running to time. If you can't run to time and make decisions in a timely manner with me, Mrs Coddingham then I'd rather by sailing."

"Really, this is..."

Sara Bloom was quick to react. "Cool it please Brenda – the problem we face requires bridge-building, not assassinating the bridge-builder. Bianca, have you had time to develop stategy?"

"Not really – I need you two to describe the extent of the problem to me in detail to allow me to visualize the big picture. As my impression is other consultants have failed you, this calls for my specialty – attacking the problem from outside the square. I'd like to read your reports on the problem, Mrs Coddingham's assessments and the recommendations of your failed consultants. In the meantime I want to call a meeting of hoteliers to discuss the coming hotel bed shortage crisis under Mrs Coddingham's signature; I'll write the letter for her approval."

"Good God young woman," said Brenda. "Don't you mean bed oversupply?"

"No, if booking agents overseas read that they'd expect really big discounts."

"But Bianca dear," Sara frowned. "Hoteliers will know there's an oversupply of beds, not the reverse."

"True, but that establishes the title of the emergency meeting and I can use that theme in developing marketing and information programs. The notice of meeting will indicate there could very well be a bed shortage is the threat to convert hotels into luxury apartments takes off."

"I see," said Mrs Coddington. "This sounds a little shonky."

"I prefer the term borderline," Mrs Coddingham. "It's a has far more credibility than the council indicating the rise in property rates is expected to be minuscule and then announcing an average 7.321% increase."

"But ratepayers expect that sort of thing."

"Yes and no doubt hoteliers expect the regional visitors' office to emphasize the positive for them."

"Bianca has a point there, Brenda."

"I see the coffee is ready," the plump chairman observed. "Do you serve cream cake?"

"Ah, saved by that door-knock – here's the courier with a cream sponge from Anne's Kitchen, Mrs Coddingham. Please open the box."

"Ooh. A double cream centre sandwiched between thick raspberry jam with more cream on top and scattered with premium chocolate flakes – this is Anne's premium cream cake, Sara. Bianca is honoring us."

The two women left, each with a slab of the left-over cream cake. Bianca had declined to have any. They promised to have copies of their reports delivered to Bianca within the next half hour. When Marty arrived at 6:15 to collect her, Bianca already had her strategies outlined and emailed the draft letter to the hoteliers to Mrs Coddingham for approval.

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byEgmont Grigor© 5 comments/ 28426 views/ 1 favorites

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